Schutz is having a moment in the U.S., and the Brazilian-made footwear brand is planning to make the most of it.
Since making its debut in 1995, Schutz, owned by parent company Arezzo&Co, has made quite a name for itself in Brazil and the Latin American market. In recent years, however, a slow creep into the U.S. has proven positive, and an unsolicited Instagram shout out from pop star Lady Gaga last month saw the brand shipping stock by the plane load to the States to accommodate rapidly ramped up demand.
So this year, it’s going to be all about more U.S.—and more international—expansion.
“We’re rapidly expanding our wholesale distribution,” said Kevin Patera, director of wholesale for Schutz USA, speaking at Couromoda 2018 in São Paulo, Brazil Monday. Schutz stepped into the U.S. market about five years back with one store on New York’s Madison Avenue, an LA store followed just shy of three years ago, and the company’s making room for more growth, both online and in stores.
“We’re already in the top vendor bracket for Shopbop and Revolve, which are two key online players for the contemporary market, and with the growth that we’ve seen there, we’ve seen that we’ve had a lot of demand from the department stores,” Patera said. Schutz recently launched with Saks online and is now moving into their stores, it launched in Bloomingdale’s in October, and in the last year, the company relaunched in eight Nordstrom stores and now it’s set to be in 20. “Obviously with the retail climate being what it is in the U.S. right now, we’re definitely fortunate for the amount of faith that our partners have put in our brand. But a lot of that has to do with a need in the market for more exciting contemporary shoes at a good price point, and we feel that we could deliver that.”
Department stores have been faltering in favor, and many haven’t yet caught on to consumers’ current demand for better in-store experiences. Many department stores aren’t providing the value add shoppers seek, and that’s one reason Patera thinks companies are increasingly turning to Schutz.
“If you look at our booth [which was abuzz with buyers, making for squeezing room only among the shoes], if you go into any of our stores in Brazil, we’re all about fun. We’re all about experience,” Patera explained. “So I think that us being able to go to Nordstrom and having a blogger there or doing a gift with purchase or just surprising and delighting our customer, is a way for them to kind of take learnings from us as well as having product that speaks to the same kind of emotional need that they have but weren’t really getting from other brands.”
The next stop for Schutz beyond its physical expansion, will be expanding its proof of concept, according to Patera.
“Our investors have made it clear that they have a lot of trust in our brand and a lot of trust in our company since we have such a large backing in Brazil and we’ve proven great results so far,” he said. “We need to be able to showcase our proof of concept when it comes to our retail model in stores, so we’ll be rolling out two stores in malls hopefully this year.” Patera didn’t disclose where the two new stores will be.
In the meantime, Schutz is planning to put forth more shoes that cater to the modern woman’s needs—and heel heights—for Fall/Winter ’18.
“We’ve seen a lot of success in mules and slides,” Patera said, “And we’re seeing a resurgence in platforms,” which have been the answer to higher-heeled footwear that still retains comfort.
Schutz next collection will feature velvet slides in new colors and customizable options, lurex sock boots and scale-effect styles done with two-toned sequins.